Today I made an appointment for an ECT consult at a second hospital. A good friend of mine just had ECT at this second hospital, Boulder Community. She had ECT about 20 years ago and she has done pretty well in life, she is a lawyer and a social worker, and just finished her MBA. Oh, and she’s a mother! So, to say that she is a rockstar at functioning is a bit of an understatement. She’s dipped down lately into serious depression and so she had ECT again, but the fact that her last ECT treatments put her in good stead for 20 years gives me hope.
So! I made this appointment at Boulder Community and I got an email with just a scant FIFTEEN pages of paperwork to fill out. Should take me the next five days before the appointment to do it. I filled out two pages tonight. It’s the ECT Depression Index Inventory. There are some things on this inventory that I found very interesting and maybe even a tad bit validating. Like, #5, a measure of guilt going from “I don’t feel particularly guilty” to “I feel guilty all of the time” (I chose “I feel guilty a good part of the time”). Feeling guilty is a measure of depression? Or, #12, which ranges from “I have not lost interest in other people” to “I have lost all of my interest in other people” – where I chose the option just above that, “I have lost most of my interest in other people.” Is that just my depression? I started to feel like it was just, like, me! Like, what’s wrong with me? Why am I always alone? Am I anti-social? And #14! It starts with “I don’t feel I look any worse than I used to” and ends with “I believe that I look ugly.” I chose the second option, “I am worried that I am looking old or unattractive.’ Worrying about looking older? Or looking like shit? That’s my depression too??? I’ve always been a person who puts on makeup, fixes her hair, wears nice clothes…and now? I just don’t care!!! Sometimes I think I look like a bum. I worry that I look like an old lady, or that I’ve lost my looks. It might not be entirely rational since I’m only in my 40’s.. Here is one of the most significant losses to me, the loss of sex drive, #21. It goes from “I have not noticed any recent change in my interest in sex” to “I have lost interest in sex completely” which is the option I chose. I’ve always been a very sexual being, I’ve enjoyed sex, a lot! (How much, you ask? Remember, this blog is titled Bipolar On Fire! A LOTTTTT!!!) And to be utterly disinterested? It leaves me feeling like half a person.
I wonder if there is help for me. I don’t “feel” like there’s help for me but I hope there is. I guess that’s why I’m going through with this, even though I hear that I’ll be quite the space cadet after the treatments. And I worry about being able to go back to work. Hell I worry about remembering my name. But right now, I am less and less able to function at work every day. The depression is like a fog that is drowning out all other functioning. Pretty soon there will be nothing of me left except a hard shell. Soon my only remaining job prospect will be as a crash-test dummy.
I will work on my fifteen pages of paperwork tonight, and if there’s time left, I’ll look into the crash-test dummy gig. It’s always good to have a back-up plan if this one goes south.